Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Designed by Philippe Starck in 2000 to look like an enchanted urban forest, the 807-room Hudson is the discount version of boutique luxury.
Boutique hotelier Ian Schrager opened the 807-room Hudson in 2000, on the heels of his successful New York ventures Morgan's and the Royalton. At the time of purchase, the building was owned by PBS, and its upper floors were rented out as college dorm rooms. (It was initially built as a Y.M.C.A. in the 1920s.) Schrager sent ripples through the hotel industry with his plans to create a cheap but ultra-stylish hotel -- unheard of in New York at the time -- that would he said be a "modern Y.M.C.A., an urban spa in the middle of the city."
When the hotel opened, it actually managed to live up to the hype. Celebrities flocked to Hudson Bar and the Library Bar, and the hotel's lobby became a place to be seen, even while guests paid $95 for cramped quarters upstairs.
But the Hudson's novelty has worn off a bit -- nothing this cheap can stay hot in Manhattan for too long. Still, the Philippe Starck, who also designed Schrager's Delano hotel in Miami, covered the 40-foot-high ceiling in the dark, cavernous with ivy, hanging an enormous chandelier above the front desk. (The hotel's lobby is actually on the second floor, accessed by a single escalator that leads up from the signless street entrance.)and other public spaces remain visually stunning. Renowned designer
The Hudson is located on West 58th Street in Midtown West, between the dazzling marquees and crowds of the Theater District and the upscale apartments of the Upper West Side. It's an area that long ago was better known as Hell's Kitchen, but has transformed since the Time Warner Center -- basically a high-end mall with some of the city's best restaurants -- opened on the Hudson's corner. Now the area is teeming with high-end hotels -- 6 Columbus, the Mandarin Oriental, and Trump International Hotel & Tower -- and two of New York's most expensive restaurants, Per Se and Masa. Conveniently, there is also a massive Whole Foods organic supermarket located in the basement of the Time Warner Center.
Originally a Y.M.C.A., turned dorm room turned hotel, the Hudson is most notable for its comically small rooms -- you're likely to bump your knees into the bathroom walls while sitting on the . The hotel tries its best to spin this into something fun, and its website claims the inspiration for the rooms comes from a "private cabin on an upscale yacht." Management also claims that the hotel is meant to be "a college campus for adults."
But the truth remains -- the single rooms start at a mere 136 square feet, and are among the smallest rooms in New York City. The standard and "superior" rooms, the next steps up, come with either a double or a queen-size bed, but they don't get much bigger, at 144 to 167 square feet -- still smaller than most New York boutique hotel rooms. Even these rooms only have about 2 feet of space on either side of the bed. But once you get used to the size -- or at least figure out a way to store your bags without tripping on them -- the dark, wood-paneled rooms can feel cozy and stylish.
Modernwith top-notch equipment and free Wi-Fi
The hotel'sis located in the basement. It has a large selection of with personal video screens, as well as free weights and weight machines. The hotel offers free bike rentals, too.
In addition to a business center with computers, printers, and fax machines, the Hudson has two floors of meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 500 people.
A trendy, party-heavy hotel with dark, cramped rooms that can't fit any rollaway beds, this is not the place for families.
Though close to Central Park, the Hudson is a party hotel at heart, particularly on weekends. Some guests have complained about the hallways reeking of marijuana (just like a college dorm!), and it's not unheard of for people to make out in one of the many dark corners. Maybe not the best sight for young eyes. Plus, the limited (and pricey) food menus aren't ideal for young children.
Trendy on-site dining
Steps from Central Park and five subway lines, the 807-room Hudson has a prime location. But beyond its surreal, Philippe Starck design and four scenester bars, it's actually a remodeled Y.M.C.A. with very tiny rooms. For bigger rooms, check out 6 Columbus.